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A Race to Tri: Moose on the Loose

The cold-weather cousin of the swim/bike/run is the snowshoe/fat-tire bike/cross-country ski.


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Each magazine issue, we’ll be highlighting a race you might not know about. This month: the Moose on the Loose Winter Triathlon.

Think you can’t race tri in winter? Think again. This weekend the annual winter tri takes over Harriman State Park in Idaho. If you can’t make it by Saturday, put it on your calendar for a cold-weather race-cation next year and start practicing your cross-country ski and snowshoeing now.

Here’s our quick snapshot of this race you should tri.

Photo: Courtesy Moose on the Loose Triathlon

What: The cold-weather cousin of the swim/bike/run is the snowshoe/fat-tire bike/cross-country ski—and yes, it’s as fun as it sounds. Exhibit A: Idaho’s Moose on the Loose Triathlon, which began in 2017 when race directors Kammie and Trever Turpin invited their friends to Harriman State Park for a day of their favorite winter activities. It quickly became a mainstay on the events calendar and today attracts racers from all over the world who are looking for some winter multisport action.

Why: Triathletes spend a lot of time outside in the fresh air during the warmer months, so being confined in the winter to basement trainer setups and indoor pools can bring on a bad case of cabin fever. The Turpins estimate one-third of their participants every year are traditional triathletes looking to get outside and burn off some competitive fuel.

“It’s a new adventure and something fun to do during the winter months in the awesome scenery that Harriman provides,” Trever said. “If you want to just come out and have a fun time, you can do that. If you want to come out and really compete, we have the field for that as well.”

In addition to the excellent cross-training benefits of running in snowshoes and biking and skiing on groomed trails, winter racing allows triathletes to keep their troubleshooting skills sharp for summer. Unlike summer events, the race goes on in any weather, any time.

“We never seem to have the same conditions on race day,” Turpin said. “We’ve had blizzards, we’ve had six inches of fresh snow, we’ve had icy conditions.” But don’t let that scare you off—it’s all part of the joy of racing in a winter wonderland.

How: Race registration is available online or on the day of the race for both individual and relay categories. You’ll be responsible for providing your own gear for the snowshoe/fat tire/ski combo, but if you’re missing any equipment for one leg, a duathlon option is also offered. Athletes can mix-and-match any two of the three disciplines to create their own adventure. Just be sure to bundle up.

RELATED: A Triathlete’s Guide to Snowshoeing, Fat Tire Biking, and More Winter Cross-Training Activities